Court: CIA Can't Say There's No Drone Program

ACLU records request alive once more.
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2013 2:30 PM CDT
Court: CIA Can't Pretend There's No Drone Program
In this Feb. 7, 2013 file photo, CIA Director nominee John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The CIA can't just pretend its drone program doesn't exist to avoid releasing its records, a federal appeals court ruled today, reviving an ACLU lawsuit to obtain them. The CIA had rejected the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act request, saying it couldn't confirm or deny that the records existed, but the DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that argument, given that multiple government officials and the president himself have clearly acknowledged the program.

"There comes a point where ... courts should not be ignorant as judges of what [they] know as men," Judge Merrick Garland wrote in his opinion, quoting from a 1949 Supreme Court case. But it could still be a while before the ACLU gets the records; the decision simply sends the case back to trial court, where the CIA can try other arguments, Reuters explains. (Read more drones stories.)

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